Karachi Phantasmagoria

By Dr. Adnan Zuberi 

Karachi Phantasmagoria by  Sir V S Naipaul a Nobel Laureate in Literature 2001. A chapter regarding Karachi from his book, Among the Believers:An Islamic Journey.
It was 1986/87 and I was the student of Dow Medical College.One of my friend introduced me to  this writer- Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul,and recommend his recently published book: Among the Believers, An Islamic Journey.
He visit karachi twice first in 1962  by ship from Alexandria and next in 1979/80 when he was writing this book.
Following are  his few excerpts from the above mentioned book.
” Before 1947 there was no Pakistan here, there was the only Indian province of Sindh and the British built city of Karachi. The past survived in buildings,  and in names the Club road, Bleak House Road, Clifton, Jutland Lines, Abyssina Lines, Jacob Lines, McNeil Road, Clayton Quarters, Napier Barracks, Soldier Bazaar.”
” And one afternoon, walking from the Intercontinental down the two miles road that led, through land reclaimed from  mangrove swamp to the Chinna creek and Napier Mole Bridge, I was surprised at the edge of the creek, beside the bridge and amid the works for the new dock, to see a memorial plaque with Hindu names on a wall.”
V S Naipaul born in 1932 in Trinidad, West Indies, in an Indian family. His grand parents came from india to work as labourers in sugarcane plantations. In early 50s he won the scholarship and got the admission in Oxford. In 1996 he met Nadira Alvi, a Pakistani Journalist 20 years younger to Sir Naipaul, at the residence of US counsel general.  After the death of his wife, in 1996 he married to Nadira Alvi. Sir V S Naipaul died on 11 August 2018 in London.
Awards: 1971 Booker Prize, 1990 Knighthood, 2001 Nobel for literature
In 2006 I had a chance to see Mr Naipaul’s glimps in British Library, London.
Photos. Sir V S Naipaul and Lady Nadira Naipaul


About Amin H. Karim MD

Graduate of Dow Medical College Class of 1977.
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1 Response to Karachi Phantasmagoria

  1. Sakim Chowdhrey says:

    Among the Believers by V.S Naipaul is a cynical book about Islam by a cynical by nature Hindu who otherwise has a gift of writing fantastic stories in the English language.

    Oct 11 ,1981
    In his new book, a naked, contentious bias against Islam animates his travels “among the believers,” which unfortunately may only win him additional disingenuous praise. Naipaul, who was born a Hindu Indian in colonial Trinidad–where he says the cocoa crop was considered more important than the quality of people’s lives–does not long for the colonial era, and he is free of Nabokov’s snobberies. He is also more tender in his sympathy for individual human beings. Nor does he envision an old and honored plateau in history from which the world’s slide to corrupt disrepair began. Still, in his journeys he purveys the impression that there is no place left on earth where he could live except for London, and romanticizes life and civilization there to the extent of seldom noticing the disillusioned British trippers who positively stipple the far-flung continents he visits and are escaping what they perceive to be the ennui and disintegration of Great Britain.

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